Companies must embrace edge computing to stay relevant. Source: Shutterstock

Companies must embrace edge computing to stay relevant. Source: Shutterstock

Should businesses start thinking about ‘living on the edge’ in 2020?

TODAY, the popularity of internet of things (IoT) devices has exploded, boosting demand in consumer and business environments.

The mass adoption of these devices brings along an unprecedented amount of data, and with up and coming technologies such as 5G, the volume of data will only grow.

The cloud used to be the go-to technology to unveil actionable insights from data. However, at the rate data is growing and evolving in complexity, sending all the data off into the cloud will only increase latency and bandwidth issues.

Thus, for enterprises that are looking into adopting IoT, it’s time to explore edge computing.

Edge computing makes up for decreased speed and connectivity through decentralization as data is analyzed at its source. With this, the data-to-insights process can be accelerated, providing businesses with better visibility into their business operations.

With all that edge computing can offer, it is a technology that must be seriously considered by all enterprises. It is not purely about reducing response time and saving bandwidth, but it can significantly improve work processes and optimize performances.

# 1 | Easier collaboration

Because data can be processed on the ground, employees can have the freedom to work in ways that are best for them.

When employees work in an environment that suits them best, collaboration and cross-functional work can be more efficient. This is important as these collaborations are crucial in breaking down silos within a digital-first company.

As a result, businesses can shift their focus towards harnessing new economic drivers without compromising communication and organizational efficiency.

Also, in industries where a near real-time response is required, edge computing allows employees to tap easily into global resources to make decisions in real-time.

# 2 | Safer cloud computing

Edge computing should not supersede the cloud but complement it.

For example, for devices that run on IoT or AI, edge computing can be utilized. For apps where time isn’t pressing, like big data projects, the cloud can be used.

Edge computing will also benefit the IoT ecosystem greatly because it blends values of the cloud such as analytics and mobile device connectivity with the robustness of a regular device.

Moving large amounts of connectivity in the cloud has high risks. With pure cloud services, internet outages can be damaging, and data privacy might be compromised.

Thus, an edge-cloud computing model would provide the best of both worlds.

# 3 | Digitized workflow

With the actionable insights that data can provide, workflows can be improved, and decision-making can be automated. However, all will come to naught if these are not acted upon in a timely matter.

Edge computing’s promise of reduced latency can mitigate this. It allows for quick, real-time decision making and enables connected operations regardless of location and connectivity.

Ultimately, edge computing unlocks the potential of untapped data provided by connected devices.

It is also a key measure in a company’s digital maturity — a digital-first workplace is characterized by increased productivity and efficiency. This will largely be due to the ultra-fast data processing and reduced network distances that come with edge computing.

Undeniably, edge computing is a must for businesses to stay relevant. How businesses leverage edge computing would be a differentiating factor between competitors.

Businesses must prepare to fully embrace this technology to improve operations and customer experience.